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† Salmon and Trout Fishing Techniques for Lake Michigan: Lake Michigan Angler, Winthrop Harbor, Saturday, free, seminars by Al Johnson 9 a.m., Jim Goebel 10:30 a.m., LMA staff 1 p.m., (224) 789-7627
† Fish and Hook Sport Show: American Legion Harwood Post No. 5, Rockdale, Saturday, fishandhook.net
Updated: March 12, 2014 9:56AM
Winter gives fishermen one last right cross.
On Monday, site superintendent Ted Love found 10 inches of ice locking up the launch cove at LaSalle Lake, so boaters are not expected to be able to launch Saturday for opening day. Bank fishing, however, will start on schedule.
The opener at LaSalle, the cooling lake south of Seneca, is the most anticipated in northeast Illinois with fishermen lining up the day before and sleeping in their cars and trucks the night before, especially for a weekend opener after one of the worst winters.
Blue catfish continue to be the top story at LaSalle. The survey last fall found them from a half-pound to 35 pounds, fisheries biologist Ken Clodfelter said. Fishermen have caught them heavier than 50 pounds.
He was encouraged by the size and number of hybrid striped bass of 4-8 pounds they found, especially around the first east point.
‘‘An 8-pound hybrid will give you a battle,’’ he noted.
In my world, so will an 8-inch bluegill. That again looks to be a top fishery.
In the survey, bluegills were found at the rate of 200 per hour, in the 8-inch range, by the big rip-rap on the east end. Lots of smallmouth bass were found.
“Largemouth [bass] were scattered, some here and there,’’ Clodfelter said. “We did not hit a concentration. We found lots of young of the year [bass] along the shoreline. Looks like a good year for largemouth and smallmouth reproduction.’’
There’s plenty of channel catfish, but Clodfelter said while the body condition is a little better, it’s not where he’d like it.
The plant had been down for a while for refueling, one reason the ice formed in the cover, but it’s back now.
“Hopefully, everything goes well,’’ Clodfelter said. “I worry about the wind more than anything.’’
With the boaters out of the picture for the opener, wind danger will be delayed.
Everybody is eager to get on the water, especially this year, but Love asked for consideration from fishermen lining up in anticipation.
“I request that fishermen do their best to maintain double waiting lines and keep the middle open,’’ he said. “When I get out there in the morning and that middle is plugged, then we have to park and walk all the way into the gate to open, and fishermen have to wait. Leave that middle open in case of an emergency so we can get in to get the gate open.’’
Open, that’s the key word: open water, open to fishing. In March, LaSalle is open Wednesday to Sunday, 6 a.m.-sunset.
At some point, Brian Urlacher became like the mount of a 32-pound Chinook a McCormick Place conventioneer has hanging in his den.